Darkhorse Candidate: Scott Pera

I miss being in charge. There’s nothing like running your own program, where decisions lie squarely on your shoulders. That’s part of the fun of being a head coach: Wanting and enjoying that responsibility. The other part I loved was getting kids as freshmen and watching them develop into great players and great kids.–Scott Pera

Even though Scott Pera spends his days working across the country in the heat of Arizona, he knows exactly how to navigate his way through the hills and valleys of Central Pennsylvania. A Hersey native Scott Pera earned his bachelors degree at Penn State in 1989 before compiling and extensive resume as a successful high school coach. One of Pera’s most impressive feats was amassing an 11-year record of 258-65 at Artesia (Calif.) and Annville Cleona (Pa.) high schools, leading Artesia to the state title in 2005-2006 with a 33-1 record. 

After an impressive stint with prep and high schools, Pera joined the Arizona State staff in 2006 as the director of operations. Pera immediately became an important member of the staff and was key in the recruitment of  James Harden and Derek Glasser. Since then Arizona State has seen success on the recruiting trail and in return Pera was promoted to recruiting coordinator in 2008. While Arizona State struggled to win last season, Pera’s addition to the Sun Devil’s staff in 2006 was a key part of  three straight 20+ win seasons and Top 5 finishes in the Pac10. Pera’s background in teaching and development of young athletes has helped elevate his status to one of the top assistants in the nation.

While this may seem like another chance for Penn State to promote one of their own, Pera has put together a resume that makes him a legitimate coaching candidate with or without his Penn State background. Just two weeks ago Pera attended Villa 7 a conference designed to bring together “athletic directors to share ideas and meet with the country’s elite assistant basketball coaches.” This invitation only conference included Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals and Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard.

At the end of the day, Penn State fans will need to recognize that Tim Curley won’t be able to pull in big-name coaches at this point of the offseason. Even if he were to show them the money, the likelihood that a coach in a stable situation would bolt for Penn State at this juncture seems highly unlikely.

If Penn State is going to succeed in finding a suitable coach for the future, it is going to come from either a rising Mid-Major coach or a respected assistant looking to take the next step. Between Pera’s background, accomplishments, and potential to rise in the coaching ranks, he very well may be the man Penn State is looking for.

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Tags: Penn State Basketball Scott Pera Tim Curley

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